2013 May Novena – Homily 4

Fr Fergus Tuohy SMA, the FVC Director for Munster celebrated the Mass and delivered the homily at the fourth night of the Annual Novena in honour of Our Lady (Monday, 20 May 2013). Fr Fergus shared some thoughts, and stories, on the theme of ‘Our Lady, Queen of Peace’. The following are the principal points he made in his homily.

Peace can be defined in many ways:
state of tranquillity or quiet
freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
harmony in personal relationships
Peace can be used to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell’.

I worked in Northern Nigeria for 30 years and we used a language called Hausa. This is a language which is closely related to Arabic and the standard greeting is ‘SALAMA ALAIKUM’ which means ‘Peace be with you’. Whether you are a Muslim or a Christian the greeting is the same.

Peace is more than the absence of violence. It is impossible to read a newspaper or watch TV without hearing the mention of Peace. There is an ad for fibre optic telephone lines which gives very fast internet to houses all over Ireland. The advert says: ‘You get something money can’t buy – PEACE’.

Is this real Peace? I am not sure. We pray daily for peace in our hearts, peace in our homes and peace in our country.

This evening we come together to pray for Peace. At this Novena to Our Lady, we ask Mary, the mother of our Saviour, to grant us peace.

When we talk of Peace we are looking for quietness, happiness and tranquillity. So how do we get peace in our lives? How many of us here this evening can truly say there is peace in our family, in our homes and in our hearts? I do not need to see your hands – every family has problems – but what can we do to bring peace into our lives?

St. Francis of Assisi was approached by one of his fellow monks in the garden of the monastery one day. Francis was sweeping leaves, and he stopped when the monk approached him. ‘What would you do today if you were told that this is your last day on earth,’ asked the monk. Francis paused, looked at the monk and said: ‘I would continue on sweeping.’

What would you do differently if you were told that you were going to die this evening? What would you change in your life?

Obstacles to Peace:  
What stops us living a peaceful life?
– constantly trying to find enough money to live on each day;
– trying to cope with rearing a family and ensuring that your children have enough food, clothing and education;
– pressure to have better clothes, a better car, a better house, a better figure;
– peer pressure, bullying, new pressures on young people.

How can we have Peace in our lives? How can we be happy with what we have? Concern for others and thinking of others more than ourselves can certainly lead to peace.

Pope Paul VI said: If you want PEACE, work for JUSTICE’.

Justice and Peace go hand in hand. There can only be peace in the world today when there is Justice.

Pope Francis ended his Easter Sunday Homily in the Vatican by calling for peace in the whole world, still divided by greed looking for easy gain, wounded by the selfishness which threatens human life and the family, selfishness that continues in Human Trafficking, the most extensive form of slavery in this 21st century. Peace to the whole world, torn apart by violence linked to drug trafficking and by the exploitation of natural resources”.

The mission of the Church, and our mission, is to make justice a reality in our own lives in our work and in the world.

We are in a world, in a country, where murder and greed is becoming part of our daily news; jobs being lost; young people being forced to emigrate; so many families faced with negative equity and worthless properties. Suicide appears to some as the only way out.

There is ANOTHER WAY.

To achieve peace in our lives, we must be at peace with others. The prophet Micah said:

“This is what God asks of you:

To act justly,

Love tenderly

And walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6.8]

We begin with ourselves.

Peace seems just a word. It is much more than that.

It is only when we think of our own family, our children and grandchildren that we truly realise the need for Peace and Justice. We must educate the youth – help them realise the need to seek out PEACE. Each of us, young and old, need to actively work for Justice and Peace.

Be concerned about the Environment. Be concerned about drug trafficking and slavery. See how you can help others and then you will find PEACE.

We celebrate Mary as the Queen of Peace. Mary, our Mother, we ask for peace in our homes, peace in our country and in the world. Help us to be courageous in working for Justice. May you intercede for us with Jesus, your Son. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.